Taxotere Lawsuits Mount, With New Filing in Pennsylvania and Illinois

Published on January 24, 2018 by Sandy Liebhard

Taxotere lawsuits continue to mount in courts throughout the United States, as a growing number of cancer survivors claim that Sanofi-Aventis failed to warn them that exposure to the chemotherapy drug could result in permanent hair loss.

Lawsuits: Taxotere Label Wasn’t Updated in December 2015

One of the most recent hair loss claims involving Taxotere was filed on January 16th by a woman from Irwin, Pennsylvania, who was treated for breast cancer in 2010. According to a complaint pending in the Allegheny Court of Common Pleas, the plaintiff was only informed of the possibility that Taxotere could cause temporary hair loss. (Case No. GD-18-000551)

Five years later, in December 2015, the Taxotere label was updated to note the potential for permanent alopecia.

Nearly a month earlier, a similar Taxotere lawsuit was filed in Cook County Circuit Court in Illinois on behalf of several plaintiffs who also claim to have experienced permanent hair loss following their cancer treatment. (Case No. 2017L012703)

Taxotere and Permanent Alopecia

Taxotere was approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in 1996, and is currently approved to treat breast cancer, head and neck cancer, gastric cancer, prostate cancer and non-small cell lung cancer.

Court records indicate that more than 4,100 Taxotere lawsuits are pending in courts around the county, with the majority centralized in a multidistrict litigation now underway in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana.

While temporary alopecia is common with most types of chemotherapy, plaintiffs pursuing these lawsuits claim that Taxotere-associated hair loss is more likely to be permanent compared to hair loss associated with other, equally effective medications. They also point out that the European medical community was informed of the potential for permanent hair loss in 2005, while the Canadian Taxotere label underwent a similar modification in 2012.

The complaints also cite several recently published studies that have suggested Taxotere could cause permanent hair loss, including a Sanofi-funded study called GEICAM 9805 , which suggested that 9.2% of Taxotere patients experienced hair loss that lasted 10 years or longer. Plaintiffs further note that in 2006, a Denver-based oncologist reported that 6.3% of his Taxotere patients had experienced permanent hair loss.

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